I missed the Wine Media Guild’s annual Champagne tasting and lunch this year because I was in Sonoma. As a result, I was looking forward all the more to the NY Wine Press Champagne luncheon at the Brasserie on 53rd Street in NYC. Ed Mc Carthy (author of Champagne for Dummies) was the speaker. Ed organizes both of the aforementioned Champagne events and when I arrived at the Brasserie, Ed told me that he was very disappointed that I did not attend the Wine Media Guild Champagne lunch. I replied that I was in Sonoma and he said that was not a good excuse! Ed loves his Champagne and likes everyone to enjoy it with him. I am sorry I had to miss it!
For the tasting and lunch Ed chose Blanc de Blancs Champagnes, all were 100% Chardonnay
H. Blin Blanc de Blancs Brut NV. The vineyard has southern exposure and the vines are 25 to 35 years old. They do sustainable viticulture. Pneumatic pressing takes place in the hours immediately following the harvest. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Complete Malolatic fermentation. The wine remains on its lees for 3 years and the dosage is 9g of sugar per liter. This wine was served as we walked in and I could not get over how good it tasted.
Ed did not give us the prices until the end and when he said it was only $35 I could not believe it. The wine was fresh with floral scents, hints of honeysuckle and white peach and dash of lemon on the finish.
Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs in magnum NV. $125 for 750 ml. The grapes come from the Còtes des Blancs. 40% of reserve wine is used. There is a low dosage and long aging after disgorgement, 6 to 9 months. Cellar aging is for at least 3 years. The wine has citrus aromas and flavors with white fruit notes and hints of apple and almonds.
For lunch Ed divided the wines into three flights of three wines.
Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV. An assemblage of Chardonnay grapes from the Cotes des Blancs. The assemblage is made up of 30% reserve wine and the percentage may very from year to year. The wine has hints of honeysuckle, orange and lemon with a touch of apricot. $55
Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Brut NV. Made from Chardonnay grapes grown in Cramant, a village on the Cote des Blancs. The soil is chalky silt perfect for the cultivation of Chardonnay. There is a low dosage of 6g/l and the pressure is low 4.5 bar giving the wine a delicate effervescence. Ed said this was the best of the Mumm champagnes and the flagship of the line. He said that Mumm owns more vineyards in the 100% rated Grand Cru village of Cramant than any other house. According to Ed this is one of the best Blanc de Blancs champagnes made today. This is a fresh, fruity, light bodied champagne, crisp, dry, with hints of white flowers and a touch of grapefruit. $60
Nicholas Feuillatte “Brut Chardonnay” 2005. They are in partnership with the Central Vincole de la Champagne, the largest association of growers of Champagne, situated in the heart of the vineyards near the small Grand Cru village of Chouilly outside Epernay. This gives them a large supply of grapes to choose from. The wine is aged 6 years in the cellar before release. This was a very good price for a vintage Champagne. $49
Ed said that the 2008 in Champagne is one of the great vintages and compared it to 1996.
The next six wines Champagnes were bigger and fuller and more expensive and I will write about them next week along with rest of the menu.